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Israel heads for snap elections for fourth time in two years

Dec 23, 2020

Jerusalem (Israel) Dec 23: Israel's Knesset (parliament) was dissolved on Tuesday night amid a political crisis between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main rival Benny Gantz, triggering the fourth elections in two years.
The Knesset was automatically dissolved after the government failed to approve the 2020 state budget by the midnight deadline. Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin adjourned the last Knesset session and called on lawmakers to "avoid incitement" during the upcoming campaigns.
The next elections are scheduled to take place on March 23.
Netanyahu and his main coalition partner and rival, Gantz, accused each other of triggering the early elections.
Earlier on Tuesday night, Netanyahu blamed Gantz for backtracking on a deal to postpone the approval of the budget. He also vowed to win the elections with "a landslide victory."
Gantz, leader of the centrist Blue and White party, accused Netanyahu of "acting criminally by failing to bring the state budget for the approval of the government over more than six months."
He said Netanyahu has violated their power-sharing coalition agreement in order to foil an expected rotation, under which Gantz would have replaced Netanyahu as prime minister. He said that Netanyahu was motivated by "narrow, personal, and legal reasons."
Netanyahu, Israel's longest-serving prime minister, is facing growing public anger over his handling of the coronavirus crisis and the ensuing economic crisis. He is also facing a criminal trial over corruption charges in three separate cases.
Netanyahu and Gantz formed their power-sharing government after no candidate had gained enough votes to form a government in the March 2020 elections.
Source: Xinhua